Ryan Kelly to start over Kent Bazemore in Lakers-Thunder game

The only certainties with the Lakers involve losing, injuries and lineup changes.

So with the Lakers (21-42) hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder (46-16) today at Staples Center, coach Mike D’Antoni will make what will mark the team’ 30th different starting lineup this season.

Lakers rookie Ryan Kelly will start at power forward, while Wesley Johnson will start at small forward and send Kent Bazemore to the bench. There’s plenty of reasons. D’Antoni wants to match Johnson up with Thunder forward Kevin Durant. Meanwhile, Kelly’s on the heels of a 24-point game on 7-of-14 shooting in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Denver, while Bazemore posted only three points on a 1 of 3 clip in 16 minutes to Denver.

“He has to hone in a little bit,” D’Antoni said. “I think he lost a little bit of his tenacity and focus. He has to get that back. He can’t play not being razor sharp on his focus. He lost that.”

After posting double digits in his first eight games, why did that drop off against Denver?

“I don’t know. We talk about it,” D’Antoni said. “He doesn’t know or he wouldn’t have done it. But it happens sometimes. You go in a new place and anything that happens that’s different, you get charged up and then you go back. He has to fight against that and you talk about it. I think he’s aware of it and I think he’ll come out of it.”

Pau Gasol is also expected to start despite nursing a mildly tweaked left ankle.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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